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My Peak Trans Story
The winding road to sanity
As a millennial lesbian, it was almost unthinkable that I wouldn’t support “trans rights.” To my credit, it was not something I ever jumped into with my whole heart. While I identified myself as very liberal as a teen and young adult (having received the message that conservatives hated me), I always had a natural repulsion to the progressive oppression stack. I would hate-read that awful website Everyday Feminism while rolling my eyes at the attempt to position men who said they felt like women at the bottom of that stack. (I was resistant to the idea that being a woman and a lesbian put me somewhere near the bottom as well.)
But I also can’t give my young self too much credit. I felt like I was secretly a bad person for not buying into the gender woo, and I tried to pretend I actually did. I remember reading about how sex is between the legs and gender is between the ears, which meant that trans women are really women, and nodding along, trying to convince myself that it made any sense at all. I remember telling my mom “you don’t understand” when she expressed misgivings about people transitioning.
Because I was always one foot in and one foot out, I didn’t have a specific “peak trans” moment—it was a bit of a slow burn, with a few major crests along the way until the dam finally burst.
“Peak trans,” for those who aren’t familiar, generally refers to the point when someone can no longer accept gender ideology. For many people, for example, it was seeing the hate and vitriol received by J.K. Rowling for stating that sex is real.
So, as I mentioned earlier, I always read stories and articles about how oppressed and downtrodden “trans women” were with some annoyance, but it didn’t make me question the underpinnings of the entire ideology. It wasn’t until 2017 that things started to change because I started to be more honest with myself, which was a scary proposition.
It all began with this horrible Buzzfeed article, “Can Lesbian Identity Survive The Gender Revolution?” (Subheading: Maybe the future really can be female. That depends on how we define it.) This was my first introduction to the reality that not only were lesbians under attack, but that femaleness itself was as well. Going back over it now as I write this post, I don’t know how this article didn’t fully peak me at the time. Though biased, it is actually a fairly good overview of the tension between trans activists and radical feminists, as well as the direction that gender ideology was headed. I think I was just hoping that if I ignored it, all the ridiculousness I had read would go away.
A few months later, another Buzzfeed post caught my eye: “People Are Criticizing Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Comments About Trans Women.”
What was so awful about what Adichie said? Well:
I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges the world accords to men, and then sort of changed, switched gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning in the world as a woman, and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.
And so I think there has to be — and this is not, of course, to say, I’m saying this with a certainty that transgender should be allowed to be. But I don’t think it’s a good thing to conflate everything into one. I don’t think it’s a good thing to talk about women’s issues being exactly the same as the issues of trans women, because I don’t think that’s true.
I discussed her words with my partner and we both agreed there was nothing offensive about them and that we agreed with her as well.
By the way, in 2021, Adichie wrote an amazing reflection on her website about this incident called, “It Is Obscene” which is well worth the read. Her last lines are particularly devastating:
What matters is not goodness but the appearance of goodness. We are no longer human beings. We are now angels jostling to out-angel one another. God help us. It is obscene.
Somehow, those two incidents were still not enough to fully peak me. Still, still, I couldn’t quite seem to get there. When I first came across the story “B.C. transgender woman who was denied Brazilian wax job withdraws human rights complaint” in September 2018, I assumed that there must be some misunderstanding. I still hadn’t quite come to terms with the fact that a man claiming to be a “trans woman” wasn’t always the misunderstood victim we were meant to believe he was.
The next month, however, I came across a story on Facebook of “Rachel” McKinnon’s win at the UCI Masters Track Cycling World Championship in the women's 35-44 age bracket. McKinnon is a trans-identified man and a textbook narcissist. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “ha! I bet the comments are full of transphobes who think this is wrong.” And then a few seconds later: “wait a minute—I think this is wrong!”
At some point, I can’t remember the exact date, I also started hearing about the idea of “trans kids.” Now this, I can say with confidence, is not something I ever bought into. I remember sitting next to my partner on the sofa and asking her, “don’t you think we would have been considered trans kids?” as we had both been huge tomboys.
The cracks were finally starting to show, but still, I was resistant to seeing gender ideology for what it was. I joined a lesbian community on Reddit and tried not to let it bother me that it seemed to be full of men who were always begging for validation and affirmation.
And then it finally happened. I came across a post one night complaining about the “Gender Critical” subreddit and how awful and hateful it was. I was confused because the name of it didn’t sound that hateful. In fact, “critiquing” gender sounded kind of… feminist? So, I went and checked it out for myself.
If there is one specific moment I can point to as my “peak trans” moment, it was seeing that others thought like me and had the same misgivings about all of this gender identity stuff as I did. And they were all women, to boot. “I’m not alone!” I thought as I dove into the posts, feeling vindicated in all of the past reactions I had to the trans movement that I thought secretly made me a bad person.
I don’t know if it was that same day or a few days later, but around that time, something told me to look closer into that “B.C. transgender woman” who had been demanding those Brazilian waxes. So I did, and that was the final nail in the coffin. Who I discovered was a predatory man who was harassing immigrant women and demanding that they touch his genitals. His history involving interest and conversations with underage girls was even worse. And yet, because this obvious predator said he was a woman, the Human Rights Tribunal was going to take his complaints seriously.
That was it. Once and for all, I saw the movement clearly for what it was. “Gender identity” is a cover for predators and a cudgel for punishing the women who won’t comply, but I was done complying.
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